Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has been racing professionally since 1998. He is a three time World Champion, winning in 1999, 2001, and 2004, and the winner of the green points classification jersey at the Tour de France. Successful for years, rumors of his retirement started circulating in 2009. He answered those rumors by coming back in 2010 and winning races. In March 2010, Freire won Milan-San Remo for the third time beating both Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi. In October 2010 Freire became the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours. He ended 2010 with yet more speculation of a possible retirement.
“I think I will see during this season,” stated Freire. “Last season I was really good. I had a lot of motivation. This year I started with a good positive outlook.”
The Tour de France will definitely not be on Freire’s 2011 race calendar. Rabobank will be supporting Robert Gesink for the general classification. “I won the green jersey once,” continued Freire. “I will not race the Tour de France this year. I want to really get prepared for the Vuelta a Espana and the World Championship this year.” 2011 UCI Road World Championships will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Freire who equals Alfredo Binda, Rik Van Steenbergen and Eddy Merckx with the three world championships has made getting his fourth title a major goal. If Denmark does not provide his fourth championship…. the 2012 UCI Road World Championships in Limburg, the Netherlands will be his best shot.
“The 2012 World Championship route looks really good for me. I think I have a good chance at Worlds next year. I will try but I know it will not be easy. Every year there are new riders coming and the new generation is very good. Everyone wants to win the world championships. It’s so difficult but I want to try.”
Competing for Spain in the Olympics also remains a goal for Freire. “I would like to continue next year since there is the Olympics games,” said Freire. “Spain is very good…not only in cycling but also in other sports. I think Spain’s quality of athletes is very high.”
Freire has competed in the last three Olympic Games. He helped his team mate Samuel Sánchez win gold in the Beijing road race in 2008. He told Spain’s AS newspaper that, “being an athlete at the Olympics and meeting other athletes is worth the experience.”
When asked what keeps him motivated Freire said, “I think I am always looking for something new to challenge me. I have never won Liege-Bastonge-Liege, for example, or many other races. When you go to the Vuelta, every stage is different so you need to be ready and motivated just to race. When I am not motivated I will stop but right now I feel good, healthy and motivated. This is very important for me.”
Stage 5 Seaside – Paso Robles Post Notes:
About 30 km into the stage Freire, Chris Froome (Sky ProCycling), Dan Martin (Garmin Cervelo) and Chris Baldwin (BISSELL Cycling) were able to break from the main group. Freire even won the max KOM points at the first KOM. The four original break riders were then joined by Martin Velits (HTC Highroad), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Sky Procycling), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech Powered by C10), Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team), Stefan Denifl (LEOPARD TREK) and Brad White (United Healthcare Pro Cycling).
“In my opinion, today was the best day to try for a break. I think sometimes we just have to try,” said Freire. “I was good at the start so I tried to be in the break. The break was not very good because there were three or four riders who had less than 4 minutes in the GC standings. I knew then that it was not going to be a good break.”
At KOM # 4 on Interlake Road both Freire and Denifl rode ahead of the original eleven man break. The two riders worked really well together maintaining a 2:00 lead at the 17km to go mark. At 15km to go Denifl had a very unfortunate flat. Freire had no choice but to continue alone to the finish.
“At the last KOM I saw the peloton and they were coming really fast. There was no option for me,” said Freire.
With Liquigas and RadioShack setting tempo and Freire riding alone, he was caught with 2.4km to go.
“If the Denifl had not flatted out…for sure we could have survived together,” stated Freire. “One rider alone is simply too difficult. You don’t have time to recover from the climbs. If you are with another rider it’s just easier. They caught me at the end. With Denifl I had a chance to win today.”
For his valiant efforts today, Oscar Freire was awarded the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider award.